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tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  October 24, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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10/24/12 10/24/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from palo alto, california, this is "democracy now!" >> we all have the right to know what is in our food. that is why so many consumers say yes to proposition 37. it gives us the right to know if there's genetically engineered items and our food on each package level. >> under the complex, badly written regulations, some kids wouldn't special labels to be sold in california while others with a special exemptions. it makes no sense. >> a food fight in california. abutters had to the polls in less than two weeks to decide whether the state should become the first in the nation to require the labeling of food
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products containing genetically modified organisms. monsanto, dow, pepsi, and coke are spending millions fighting the measure, which could impact labeling practices across the country. we will host a debate. then, michael pollan, author of, "the omnivore's dilemma" and "in defense of food." >> why the industry is so intent on not having this product labeled? they think people would not i entered the reason they would not buy it is it offers the consumer nothing. no benefit. >> all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from stanford university. at least four children have reportedly been killed in a u.s. military attack in afghanistan. afghan president karzai disclosed the attack on tuesday,
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saying the victims died after it ended caught in the middle of a firefight between u.s. forces and taliban militants while tending to livestock in the eastern province. in syria, international mediator lakhdar brahimi is claiming the syrian government has agreed to a brief ceasefire during the muslim holiday. brahimi also says the majority of rebel groups have also pledged to abide by the truce. the syrian government has yet to confirm whether it will take part, saying a final decision will come on thursday. israel has launched air strikes in the gaza strip for the second consecutive day. a palestinian militant was killed today, one day after three palestinians died in another israeli attack. palestinian fighters have launched rockets across the gaza border into israel, seriously wounding two immigrant farmworkers from thailand. the thousands of people surrounded the spanish parliament in madrid on tuesday in the latest round of protests
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against austerity cuts targeting public spending. spanish labor unions are gearing up for a general strike against austerity measures set for november 14, the second general strike in spain this year. president obama and republican challenger mitt romney continue to flood a handful of battleground states with less than two weeks to go before the november 6 election. on tuesday, obama campaign in florida before moving on to ohio, where he said romney is unworthy of voters' trust. >> foreign policy from the 1980's, before the cold war was over. his social policy is from the 1960's. and his economic policies are for the 1920's. he knows he cannot sell that, even though those are his positions. he is doing everything he can to hide his true position and tell
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us what he thinks you want to hear, then spent most of the time telling you what he thinks is wrong with america. joe biden just talked about that, talking about america. he is terrific at making presentations about stuff he thinks is wrong with america. but a sure cannot give you an answer about what will make it right. and that is not leadership you can trust. >> met romney campaigned in nevada, telling supporters that obama's campaign is losing steam. >> attacks on me are not an agenda. we have gone through four debates. we've got to four debates with the vice-presidential debate and my debates, and we have not heard an agenda from the president and that is why his campaign is taking on water and our campaign is full steam ahead. >> the four main third party candidates gathered in chicago on tuesday for a debate moderated by talk-show host larry king. the debate followed "democracy
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now!"'s three previous expanding the debate specials, in which we featured third-party candidates responding to the obama-romney debates in real time. you can see them on the republican senate candidate in indiana has become the latest member of his party to draw criticism for comments about rape. defended his opposition to abortion, even in the case of rape, at a recent debate, richard murdock said that conception by rape is something intended by god. >> i struggled with myself for a long time, but i came to realize life is a gift from god. i think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, it is something that god intended to happen. >> state senator murdoch is in a tight race with the democratic challenger congressmember joe donnelly. he has stood by his remarks,
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prompting criticism from republican nominee mitt romney. in other news from indiana, a federal appeals court has blocked a state effort to deny medicaid funds to the reproductive services group planned parenthood. on tuesday, the 17th court of appeals said services cannot be cut because it just curve -- it also provides abortions. critics said it would have left thousands of low-income indian residents without medical services. a retired cia agent who publicly confirmed the torture of a cut operative abu zubaydah has pled guilty to leaking classified information. john kiriakou, who served from 1990 to 2004, is best known for a 2007 abc news conversations and how zubaydah was waterboarded and say custody. he has admitted to a single count of revealing the identity of a covert officer, which carries a potential sentence of up to 30 months.
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his conviction marks the latest milestone in the obama administration's crackdown on government whistleblowers. police in louisiana are claiming an african-american woman badly injured in what she called a racially motivated attack inflicted her wounds herself. the 20-year-old sharmeka moffitt reportedly told police she was wrote the initials kkk and a racial slur on her car. she suffered burns on more than half her body and is now hospitalized in critical condition. but police now say she staged the attack herself, and that her dna was found on the bottle of lighter fluid used to start the fire. a 19-year old man of bangladeshi dissent in its he was used as an informant to spy on mosques and eight muslims into saying inflammatory things. shamiur rahman says he spied on the muslim student association
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and the annual convention of the islamic circle of north america, and the muslim american society. he became an informant after he was arrested multiple times for marijuana. during his time as an informant, he said he never witnessed any criminal activity or saw anybody do anything wrong. a federal appeals court has blocked the execution of a severely mentally ill man in florida. john ferguson was careful to die on tuesday night for a string of killings in the 1970's, but the 11th u.s. circuit court of appeals granted a last-minute stay, accepting lawyer's arguments he is to mentally ill to be put to death. ferguson is a paranoid schizophrenic who claims he believes he is the prince of god. and those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we're at stanford university in palo alto, california, on the
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road in our 100-city tour. here in the golden state, a food fight has broken out -- that is, a fight over a ballot initiative that would require the labeling of genetically engineered food. on election day, californians will vote on proposition 37, which would require food made from genetically altered plant or animal material to be labeled by the summer of 2014. the department of public health would be responsible for labeling everything from baby formula and instant coffee to granola, canned soups, and soy milk. each item would be stamped with words such as "genetically engineered," or "partially produced with genetic engineering," or "may be partial produce which amendewith genetic engineering." if californians vote yes on proposition 37, the state will become the first in the country to require such a labeling
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system, possibly affecting industry labeling practices across the nation. numerous items are already sold in grocery stores containing genetically modified corn and soy, but companies are not required to inform consumers. advocates of prop 37 say consumers have a right to know what they're putting into their bodies. >> we all have the right to know what is in our food. that is why so many consumers say yes to proposition 37. it gives us the right to know if there are genetically engineered ingredients in our food, with clear information on package labels. that is the very same rights consumers in nearly 50 other countries already enjoy. yes on 37. we have the right to know what is in our favor. >> that that was free -- was released by "yes on 37 california right to know campaign." upon it say it is overly cumbersome and say it will lead to higher grocery bills.
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this ad was released by the "no on 37 campaign. >> under prop 37 complex badly written label regulations, some foods would need special levels to be sold in california while others would get special exemptions. this is a logical proposition makes no sense and it would increase costs for california farmers and food companies by over a billion dollars per year. increased grocery bills for a typical family by $400 per year. no wonder nearly every major newspaper in the state kyrgyz "no on 37. >> leading corporations opposing the labeling measure include monsanto, dupont, dow, agrosciences, bayer, pepsi, coca cola, nestle, and conagra. by some accounts, opponents of labeling are spending an estimated $1 million a day to quash the measure. for more we go to berkeley, california, to the university of california berkeley, where we're joined for debate on prop 37.
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stacy malkan is a longtime advocate for environmental health and spokesperson for the yes o"yes on 37 california right to know campaign code campaign. she is author of "not just a pretty face: the ugly side of the beauty industry." and david zilberman, co- director of the center for sustainable resource development. his professor of agriculture and resource economics at the university of california, berkeley. stacy malkan, why do support prop 37? can you explain to us how it ended up on the ballot? >> proposition 37 is very simple. it is about our right to know what is in the food rereading and feeding our families. it is about our right to decide if we want to eat food that has been fundamentally altered at the genetic level by companies like monsanto, to contain bacteria, viruses, our foreign genes that have never been in
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the food system before. genetic engineering has been hidden from american consumers for 20 years. 61 other countries require labeling laws, but we have not been able to get labeling year because of the enormous influence of monsanto and the chemical companies. what is happening in california is a grassroots movement has risen up to demand labeling. proposition 37 was put on the ballot by a million moms, dads, and consumers in california who want to know what is in our food. it is backed by all the state's leading health, labor, environmental, a consumer groups. and on the other side, the world's largest pesticide and junk food companies, who are spending $40 million carpet bombing california with a campaign of deception and trickery. with lie after lie in the ads that are going unchallenged in the media. proposition 37 will not raise costs or increase bureaucracy.
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part of the ground troops of course are the special interests like professors such as david zilberman who work at universities who are being flooded with money from the biotech to fund the research agenda to prop up their vision of a food system that is chemically dependent, genetically engineered, and owned by the corporations. >> professor david zilberman, why are you opposed to this ballot initiative? why are you opposed to requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods? >> i oppose to this ballot for several reasons. of course i am for the people's right to know, but in the same way you can label genetically modified food, you can also labeled non genetically modified food. you can buy organic and
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[indiscernible] i think generally in every food system you have some element of mainstay foods. things that are not being labeled. we do not label most of the pesticides. we do not label a lot of other materials in the foods. to some extent, we have a system that provides testing of what we eat. [indiscernible] the system is far from perfect, but generally, people do not have information about everything it is only calories and other nutrients.
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more importantly, besides the proposition being costly and not written right, almost all the foods we eat is genetically modified. if we live was of -- labeled the pesticides, genetically modified there was a study by the national research council that found genetically modified foods on average is less risky, or at least as risky, as conventional food and organic food. if it would be up to me, i would probably take the more risky and dollars think it would be more risky for a gimmick and modified. i personally got the maximum
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money from environmental group and the $3,000 ipad to give a lecture for monsanto. for me to think about a world with the genetically modified food is basically thinking about killing people and poisoning the environment. i think the proposition is aimed to stopped genetically modified food, because a lot of people about whatally aware of tha it means. most of the people really do not care. if they do care, they can [indiscernible] to avoid it. >> what you mean there are voluntary measures to avoid it? if people care and want to find out whether their food is genetically modified? >> ok, you can buy organic.
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if the proposition does not pass, these labels will continue. but let me put your arguments to stacy malkan. what about these points, most people do not care? >> well, people do care, and that is what was to the grassroots movement in california and won nearly a million people signed petitions to get this on the ballot. there are huge question marks over the safety of genetically modified foods. there's a record 60 testing in the u.s., almost no long-term health studies have been published there is almost no required testing in the u.s., almost no long-term health studies have been published. it needs to be studied with long-term independent, rigorous research. in fact, monsanto and the patent holders get to control the research.
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that is one problem. there are health questions and huge environmental problems associated with these foods. a massive increase in pesticide use. there is a study that came out that showed most of the engineered crops are being engineered to withstand pesticides like the roundup ready crops. now these weed killer chemicals will kill everything green, but the plant's other engineered to survive them. farmers are using more and more of the weed killer chemicals and now the weeds are, as was predicted, becoming resistant. needing to use more chemicals in the weeds becoming more resistant. >> let's put that point to dr. david zilberman. you said, david zilberman, that more people should be concerned about pesticides in their foods and gmo foods. what about adding pesticides to the labeling? what about stacy malkan's point, that genetically modified foods
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require more pesticides? at it ine look bad i context. using roundup, obviously, it is a chemical, is not problematic from any perspective. it has been used in homes by many consumers. but at the same time -- >> roundup is a monsanto pesticide. >> yes. at the same time roundup eliminates weeds, the ability to use roundup allows us to use [indiscernible] one of the most important in the last 25 years. it allows us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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in my study, [indiscernible] reduces the yield about 25% to 30%. to some extent, this world where many people are dying of starvation -- with the food price inflation, and gmo is really what kept from going much higher. >> how would this law impact that? let's a genetically modified food you're saying is good for people. this just says that the consumer should know what they are eating.
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>> as i said before, the main thing is a consumer wants to know -- the food will generate more resistance [indiscernible] with only in the beginning this type of technology. improve the productivity of other fruits. >> again, how would labeling prevent any of that is genetically modified food is good for the plant, as you argue, so be it. this just as you know what you are eating. people did not usually want to go to the internet or try to figure out what it is they are eating. if it is right on the label, it just makes it much easier. >> if most people are so
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concerned about genetically modified food, ok, they can vote for it. no problem. what i want to tell them is, number one, you really have to recognize there are more things in genetically modified food. separately, genetically modified food is the most important thing in the last 20 or 30 years for it our -- this is our future if we want to protect the environment and do of greenhouse gases, want to reduce greenhouse emissions, want to stop -- we have to increase the productivity of the food system. >> stacy malkan, let's get your response to that. >> if genetically engineered foods ashley and consumer benefits, i think we would already see labels. but they do not. it is a pesticide scheme. that is how the crops are being
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grown right now. he mentioned roundup has been a benign tool. now it is no longer working and they're going to even more toxic pesticides. it is not increasing yield or feeding the hungry, but increasing pesticide use in the united states where it is mostly been grown by massive amounts. this is not a ban on referendum on genetically modified foods. proposition 37 just gives us the right to know what we are eating. this is the way the market is supposed to work. give consumers information and we get feedback on what we want to buy and what we want to eat. we have a right to decide if we want to know what is in it. people are saying, label genetically modified foods. cox professor, you say there are things worse than genetically modified foods like pesticides. what about also calling for labeling for foods that contain pesticides?
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>> the point is this, there is a limit to how much the consumer can tolerate. i, myself, i am not against labeling per se. i'm against the targeting [indiscernible] 7% of the food we eat is not labeled. -- 70% of the food we eat is not labeled. [indiscernible] most of the food that we are eating has been modified.
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to some extent, i really do not -- to limit the ability of people to produce new products. the future of our ability to provide -- >> how will leveling -- i still don't understand how labeling will prevent people from developing other kinds of foods. it is just letting consumers know what is they are eating. >> if consumers want to know that they eat non-gm food, there are other options. they can buy organic. it is ok. the question is, what is the norm of the food my grandmother, for example, would like kosher
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food. not every food is labeled kosher or non kosher. a lot of other things are labeled voluntarily. to what extent do you really want to stigmatize gm foods or not? if people would like to develop -- requiring labeling of everything then. they cannot just ask you to label 70%. >> let's go to that issue. let me ask stacy malkan about this. dr. david zilberman mentioned winds will not be labeled. what other foods will not be labeled as a result of the ballot initiative, prop 37? >> alcohol is exempted because it is under different rules, it
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also does not include restaurants or cows and the genetically modified food although, meat will be included. it was made to follow the lead of european countries and many other countries that have the same exemptions because we did not feel we should leapfrog over them and we then tried to catch up with them for 15 years. i would like to address the misinformation coming out of the "no on 37 campaign. is a shameless, deceptive campaign as evidenced by the fact or forced to yank their first at off tv by stanford university because they misrepresented their top scientists as an m.d. at stanford, henry miller, one is actual title is a researcher at the hoover institute, which is a right-wing think-tank at stanford university. he is the one all over to you be telling people the exemptions made no sense. this is the one who wants to bring ddt back to the nine states. his fronted for climate change deniers, the tobacco industry,
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and said low levels of nuclear radiation to be good for us. this is the man on tv all across california telling people that proposition 37 makes no sense. if people knew what was behind this campaign, is a trail of tricks, deceit, and lies. there were accused by the academy of nutrition for misleading voters, by misrepresenting that group in the voters' guide them to 11 million voters. we reported them last week to the departments of justice because they quoted fda saying something they never said, making it look like they were opposed to prop 37. they put at the's logo on it and said to voters. this is a group of companies that is desperate to do anything they can to convince the voters to vote against our right to know what is in our favor. it is having an effect in the polls, but i do believe when voters go to the voting booth on november 6 are going to buy our right to know what is in our food and vote yes on prop 37. >> final words, david zilberman, the issue of simply consumers
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having a right to know. maybe they won't know about everything from this legislation, but at the beginning, as you said, 70%. >> ok, so -- [indiscernible] need to establish some sort of known food, something that is basic, and everything else should have voluntary labeling. i think gm foods belong to the future of america agreedgm was invented at berkeley by scientists. basically they take something that belongs to the people, which is the genetic innovation, and make it something that belongs to the corporate. it was done in europe.
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[indiscernible] it was banning gm. thousands of people die in africa because of the high prices of food. this is a source of fear that basically takes people like myself that works for environmental causes, benefits the environment and fight against -- [indiscernible] move to a world that relies on reliablrenewable sources. >> we are going to have to leave it there, but i want to thank you both for being with us. stacy malkan, longtime advocate for environmental health and spokesperson for the "yes on 37 california right to know campaign."
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shias author of, "not just a pretty face: the ugly side of the beauty industry." and professor david zilberman, co-director of the center for sustainable resource development in the school's college of natural resources and prof. of agriculture and resource economics at university of california, berkeley. when we come back, we will be joined by a well-known journalist michael pollan. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from stanford university in palo alto, california. as he continued our discussion
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about california's proposition 37, which would require the department of public health in california to label genetically engineered food. if californians vote yes on prop 37 and november 6, california will become the first in the country to require such a labeling system, possibly creating ripple effects across the nation. we're going right now to michael pollan, a professor of journalism at the university of california, berkeley, school of journalism. thank you very much for joining us, michael britt he has written a number of best-selling books, a leading writer and thinker on food and food policy in. he is a professor of science and environmental journalism. among his books are "the body of
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desire," "the omnivore's dilma," and "in defense of food." his next book will be out early next year, "quipped: a natural history of transformation." your thoughts on prop 37? >> look, i think this is -- it is easy to get lost in the weeds about this thing. there has been a lot of charges and countercharges, but i think there's a lot of state here. not just for californians. genetic modification was a major innovation in our food supply. we have not had a chance to debated in this country. it goes back to 1996 when these crops were first introduced. unlike in europe or there was a pretty heated debate and in japan and a resolution that involved labeling, we never had
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that debate because both political parties agreed in america that there wasfor politics. the less there was no space for politics. if this level passes in california, through the enormous pressure for a national label, by the food industry, and others. if it survives court challenges but make no mistake, if it passes, monsanto will take it to court on the very first day. there will be pressure because food companies will not want to make or formula for differently for california than the rest of the country. so we will have a national debate over whether to label this product or not. i think that is a healthy thing. how can not be healthy? >> talk about who the forces are that are behind this, and put it in context. you have been writing about food
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for decades. put it in the context of what you talked about as the food movement in this country. >> something very exciting is happening around food in this country. there is a movement. you see it when you go to the farmers' market. you see it in the kind of conversation we're having about food in the media. people are getting interested in where their food comes from, how it was produced, and trying very hard to vote with their fork, as the slogan goes, for the kind of food that supports their values. the kind of food they deem most healthy or environmentally sustainable. this movement is a tremendous threat to big food, which would much rather we did not think about how our food is produced. it is often not a pretty picture. take the meat industry for example. they do not want to think of a
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factory foreman pick up a piece of beef, they want you to think "home on the range" and cowboys. genetic modification is part of that disconnect. there is a story about how this food is produced that the industry would rather you not know. they're happy to talk to editorial boards and elites at conferences about feeding the world and this is the only way we can feed the world and drive up yields and save the forest, but for some reason, they do not want to have that conversation with consumers -- the people who have to keep this up. the reason is quite simple. consumers would probably avoid genetically modified food if they were given the choice. at least, that is the fear of the industry. the industry likes to depict that as irrational behavior,
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this fear of the unknown or this and technology. in fact, it is perfectly rational to avoid genetically modified food so far. the reason is, it offers the consumer nothing. it may or may not offer farmers some edge in terms of convenience, but to the consumer, all it offers is some uncertainty. the doubts that have been raised about certain studies about it. and also, a type of agriculture that some consumers want to avoid. giant monocultures under a steady rain of herbicides, which is what most gm crops are. so faced with that risk benefit analysis, some undetermined possible risks versus no benefit whatsoever, what is the smart thing to do? just avoid it until we know more about it. >> talk about the forces that you have come up against in your many books and in speaking run
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the country that are behind. i mean, what dr. david zilberman was saying is that people like to make this sound like this is a corporate movement, but he says it is not, the movement against prop 37. >> genetically modified organisms may have been developed in laboratories by scientists in places like berkeley, but make no mistake, there owned by very large corporations. monsanto and dupont on something like 47% of the seed supply in this country. the real benefit of gm to these countries is really the ability to control the genetic resources on which human kind depends. it is like putting a bar code on every plant. you can tell if it is your plant in the field. farmers are forced to sign contracts, forbidding them from saving seed, and forbidding
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researchers, by the way, from studying these crops. perhaps my biggest objection to the technology -- i'm not persuaded there is a health threat attached to gm, but i do think we need to do more work on that, but what i know and do not need to be persuaded of is that this represents a whole new level of corporate control on our food supply that a handful of companies are owning the seeds, controlling the farmers, and controlling our choices. the food movement is all about diversity. it is all about consumers connecting directly with farmers, and cutting out that narrow waist of the hourglass that all of our food has been passing through, these monopolies. and the consumer desires something else. but the consumer needs knowledge
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in order to make good choices. there are a certain number of people who would simply like to avoid this kind of food. david zilberman was saying, well, you can avoid it by buying organic, but that is expensive. people who want to avoid it who organic weekend --ini which cannot have a two-tier system of food. i think we need to democratize the ability to choose good food. this is a good way to do that. >> michael pollan, i would ask about president and in his record on reforming the u.s. food system. less than two weeks before he won the 2008 presidential election, at time magazine --
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"i was just reading an article in the new york times by michael pollan about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. as a consequence, our agriculture sector actually controlling more generous -- greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. in the meantime, is quitting monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion of our health care costs because they're contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs." he can connect the dots. he really got it. environment, energy, held -- they are all linked to the food system. you're not one really make
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progress on any of those three issues without addressing the way we are growing food. obama understands this very well but also understands political reality. to move against this system in any significant way will spark an enormous backlash. the food industry is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful industries and washington bridge witnessed the debate over the farm belt. over antibiotics and livestock. there many common-sense provisions that simply do not stand a chance in washington. obama made a calculation early on that he did not have enough support behind him to move against this system and try to reform it. said in go to what he 2007 when he was running for president, promising to label gmo foods. >> here is what i'll do as president. i will a immediately implement
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country of origin labeling, because americans should know where their food comes from. we will let its know if their food has been genetically modified because americans should know what they are buying. but that was president obama before he was president, michael pollan. >> so he kind of pre-endorsed proposition 37. but since he has come in, most of his decisions have taken the side of monsanto. most of his decisions have taken the side of industrial agriculture against people seeking, say, to break up the big monopolies in meat packing. the reason he has done this is he's a good student of politics and understands there is not yet enough political support, that this movement i'm describing is a very young movement. if you compared to the environmental movement, it is pre-earth day. it as i yet have that down as a national political movement. -- it has not yet havhad that
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national political movement. it is incredibly exciting to watch, but this movement has not yet exerted any muscle at the ballot box. in congress, in the white house. and that is why this is such an impairmenimportant vote. if this passes, let's say obama is reelected, he will see there are votes in reforming food supply. this is a national issue. this is the first time for the food movement to pass from that moment of voting with your fork to voting with your votes for a different kind of food system. that is why i have devoted a lot of energy to talking about this and writing about this. obama can be moved on this issue. he is tell people, "make me do it scrap it is up to us to make him do it. he gets it. that is one reason why michelle obama is speaking about food. i think she's building support
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for the kind of food we're talking about, by elevating and talkinlinking the food we eat ar health. this will ripen the politics. >> we have to take a break, we'll come back and talk about soda bands and soda taxes. we're speaking with michael pollan. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. this is food today. we're speaking with michael pollan. in late 2010, "democracy now!" spoke to jeffrey smith, the executive director of the institute for responsible technology. i asked about the u.s. diplomatic cables released by the wikileaks that revealed the bush a ministration trip was to retaliate against europe for refusing to use genetically modified seeds.
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>> they've been saying for years the u.s. government has joined or is joined at the hip with monsanto, and pushing gmo's as part of monsanto's engine on the rest of the world. this lays bare the mechanics of that effort. we have >> stapleton, the former ambassador to france, specifically asking u.s. government to retaliate and cause some harm throughout the european union. and in two years later in 2009, we have a cable from the ambassador to spain from the united states, asking for intervention there, asking the government to help formulate a biotech strategy and support the government, members of the government in spain that want to promote gmo's as well. this specifically indicate they sat with the director of monsanto for the region and got briefed by him about the politics of the region and created strategies with and to promote the gmo agenda. >> that was jeffrey smith.
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michael pollan, your response? >> our government has been promoting monsanto's products and the technology of genetic engineering, both parties have supported this. the democrats early on, remember the era of -- where they would pick out certain issues to promote. biotech was one they chose. the biotech industry and monsanto was very close to bill clinton, in particular. so this is an american product that we are promoting overseas. there is nothing unusual about that. it just happens to be a product a lot of people around the world do not want. it is important to remember that other countries have had their debate and have decided they want to label this. we cannot have that debate in washington because monsanto has closed off all the avenues of debate. we cannot have it in state
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legislatures for the same reason. lobbying money has closed off the avenues. in congress, dennis kucinich has introduced bills to label gm every year since the reintroduced. his never got more than a handful of co-sponsors. this issue, the only way that it does manage to come before the public has been in california. god knows they are trying to stamp it out, and they may succeed, but i think that any self is a pretty worrisome phenomenon. we see it on soda taxes, or the food challenge -- or the food industry fights back with deceptive advertising, tons of money, and so far, has held ground on soda tax nationally, spending hundreds of millions of dollars. they pretty much have held the ground on labeling gm, also, by
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spending tens of millions of dollars. we're in this era were corporate speech is or has first met rights. they're using that very effectively. watching the difficulty of the crow campaign response -- the media has done a terrible job of calling out the deceptions and net advertising. it is discouraging. we still need to keep at it grid and a lot of people in the food movement are turned off a national politics and want to go to their farmers market and work on local issues and all that is very important, but the risk there is be billed a two-class food system where people who can afford to check out it do and everyone else is left beating industrial stuff. that is why we do need to do with these issues at the ballot box, deal with them in washington, deal with them in the white house. what about what happened in new
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york, the ban on large soda drinks that mayor bloomberg pushed through? your thoughts on this? >> mayor bloomberg has been fighting courageously against big soda for a very long time. when he sought to tax soda in new york, pepsi threaten to leave the state. that pretty much next it. he looking for other tools. he discovered, lo and behold, the mayor has is on power that he can regulate the size of cups and to the health department laws. but everywhere, but in movie theaters and restaurants so he decided to go after that. you know, i don't think it is a bad idea. it is something we have to try. it has been mocked in incredible extent and is sounds like paternalism, but no one is preventing people from getting a
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big soda or getting two, they're testing it cannot come in more than a 16 ounce serving. with a unit to buy is split we basically eat or drink the amount given. if a normal cell becomes and 20 ounces, we drink 20 ounces. if it is in eight or 16 ounces, that is what we drink. by that slight nudge of changing the size of a container, that is it, not taxing or forbidding any more, we can effect people's choices. this is creating a default. it is a smaller soda. i don't know if it will work, but i think we ought to try these things. the mayor is so obsessed about soda because they york city has a big public hospital system. it costs a fortune for the city to run it. when they look at why it is so expensive, they discovered type 2 diabetes as one of the big costs of our healthcare system.
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every new case -- something like $400,000. if you can drive down rates of type 2 diabetes, you can cut health-care costs. what is the chief cause of type 2 diabetes in new york city? excess consumption of sugar in the form of soda. this is about saving money, saving money for the taxpayer and the soda is dead set against it. >> in 2009, president obama appointed to michael taylor, senior advisor to the fda, consumer groups protest because taylor had formerly served as vice president of monsanto. how is this affecting policy? >> michael taylor is often cited as the poster child for the revolving door in regulation. he was a lawyer representing monsanto before the rules for
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genetically modified food or developed in 1992. he then left his firm, went to work for the fda. he could drafted the rules by which gm is regulated -- i use that word advisedly. the words were, in the not be regulated. then he returned to monsanto. subsequently, he moved to the fda. he is gone back between the fda and monsanto for quite a long time. he is working on food safety now, and i think his number two at the fda. some are are -- some are alarmed he will be appointed head of the fda in the second administration. >> in a second obama administration. >> in the second obama administration read a do not think romney would have as much trouble with him as head of the fda, either. the public's voice is not being
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heard in these deliberations. when you go back to the with the fda said that the rules for gm, you discovered they ruled these products were substantially equivalent, the technical term, to conventional products, therefore, did not need to be labeled. >> michael pollan, we have five seconds. >> the fda scientists were overruled in that determination. it was an assertion, not a political finding. this is just the kind of debate we need to have and are starting to have it here in california. >> michael pollan, thank you for being with us. author of a number of books including, "the omnivore's dilemma" and "in defense of food." democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!] democracy now!]
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